Summary: Paul said that He was not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Can we say the same? Do we show that we are not ashamed how Paul did?
I believe one of the greatest evidences of Jesus Christ are the changed lives of the men that we see in the scriptures that claimed to see our resurrected Lord. The greatest of these accounts I believe is the change in the life of Saul of Taurus, later known as the Apostle Paul.
We learn in the book of Acts that Saul in Acts 7 and 9 was the fiercest enemy of the church. He gave his approval to the death of Stephen, caring for the garments of those who stoned him. Paul was given authority from the chief priests to go into brethrens’ houses and to tear them out of their houses so they can be thrown in prison awaiting an unjust trial and quite possibly their execution. Paul states in his account of his ravaging of the church in Acts 26 that he cast his vote against brethren leading to their deaths, and that he had punished them in the synagogues and was trying to force them to blaspheme the Lord. Then he went to the high priest to get authority to go to the city of Damascus, hoping to find everyone (men and women) who were Christians and to arrest them and bring them to Jerusalem.
But we know the story: He is on the road to Damascus “and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him” and Jesus appeared to Saul, leading to his conversion and to one of the most amazing 180 degree changes in a life that has EVER been seen! This man who “was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor” received the mercy and grace of God that made him a new creation. Paul saw in himself what kind of changes the gospel of Jesus Christ can make in a wicked and rebellious life. But he also saw what the gospel can do to others.
When Paul went to Corinth in Acts 18, he came to a city that was full of idolatry and immorality. He states in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.”
Paul didn’t convert any “good” people to Christ! The people of Corinth were a sinful people as we just saw in the list of sins that we just looked at. I’m sure that this list was not even an exhaustive list either! These people were wicked, but they were changed by the gospel of Jesus Christ!
From Paul’s past experiences in his own life and of the lives of those who were converted to Christ through his preaching, he was led to make this amazing proclamation about his faith towards the gospel:
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”
This gospel that Paul was preaching has a power behind it that could change lives! He saw this from his experiences. This gospel was reaching the hearts of many through his preaching, Jew and Gentile alike, and was leading men and women to change their lives completely. They left their sinful lifestyles and gave themselves to the Lord!
The question that I would like us all to answer is, “Would we make this same statement about the gospel?” “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ, for it is the power of salvation to everyone who believes.”
I am sure that almost everyone who is a Christian would make that statement. But I would like to suggest that saying it with our mouths and showing what we believe about the gospel in our actions are two different things. We may often say that we are not ashamed of this powerful gospel, but in reality not show it by our actions. Our actions show the complete opposite. Our actions show shame for the Lord and the gospel.
You may be asking the question, “How does my life show shame for the gospel?” I will answer your question with another question, “How did Paul show he was not ashamed?”
NOT BELIEVING IN ITS POWER
First, he believed in what the gospel was capable of. He believed that it was powerful and could change lives. We have already looked at examples of this in Paul’s own conversion and in the conversions of the Corinthian brethren. Do we believe the same thing about the power of the gospel?